Thursday, December 11, 2014

Last Minute Holiday Gifts for Her

I just love the holiday season. Even amongst the increased traffic, and busyness that comes with it, there's just something so magical about the holiday season. Now that it's crunch time, and shipping cut offs are nipping at our nose (see what I did there?) I've rounded up my favorite last minute gifts for her.

1. all that glitters Kate Spade pendant (because who doesn't love glitter!)
2. Mark & Graham faux fur collection (and right now it's 30% off with free shipping!)
3. Madewell leather tote (this is SO versatile - plus 20% off!)
4. LL Bean slippers (I could live in these!)
6. Alex and Ani bangle (they have SO many options - but everyone knows I'm a sucker for anything personalized!) 

Hope you're enjoying the holiday season as much as I am!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What I Wore...

You know that feeling when you literally have a closet full of clothes but you have nothing to wear? That's pretty much every morning for me. So once in a while when I put something on that I feel really good about it, I just have to document it. And maybe when my girls are older and reading through this they'll have proof that hey Mom didn't always wear yoga pants and sweatshirts! :)

Also, I hate taking selfies. Perhaps I should study up on Kim K's methods. NOT.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

On turning 30

I'm definitely not one of those people who's dreading turning 30. In fact, bring it on. It's a totally viable excuse to have a grand celebration. Most people scoff when you have elaborate plans to turn 27. (What's so special about 27 they say? What's NOT so special I say?)

Anyways - even though I have a hard time remembering that I'm turning 30 and not, say 22, I've had to make some drastic changes to my morning and nightly routines. Gone are the days of simply washing my face before bed. Now I have to worry about things like wrinkles. GASP! Even though I'm not trying to correct any and/or get rid of any just quite yet, I'm in the preventative phase. I'd rather start using something now, than start freaking out about wrinkles in another 10 years.

Enter this beauty:

I am so impressed with this Vitamin C Serum. My biggest selling point? Organic ingredients! And it has the most delicious scent. It's very light, and usually I have a hard time with serums like this making my skin feel greasy, but not at all with this. It absorbs quickly, and a little bit goes a long way. So this should last awhile! I've been pleasantly surprised with how much it's evened out my skin tone. Certain areas of my face are prone to get red and blotchy (especially in the winter!) and this has worked like a dream. Highly recommended!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

5 Months with Parker Mae

I'm sure it gets old when I say that I can't believe another month has flown by, but my goodness. I would be content keeping you a little baby forever but you clearly have other plans.

It's amazing the differences between your first and third child. With your first born every milestone is SO exciting and you can't wait for the next one! But with the third it's like wait what? how is it time for you to start rolling everywhere? Food - what? Can't be!

Although the month was a blur, it was quite an exciting blur! You discovered your toes, and you love them. We have to set aside time during the day to take your socks off and you get reallly excited about it. You also LOVE your thumb. And as much as I don't want to have to think about you sucking your thumb, it's quite adorable. When I put you to bed we start off with the pacifier, and then once I lay you down you spit it out and in goes the thumb. As if you could get anymore precious.

You had your first Halloween! You dressed up as a ladybug, and didn't really get what all the fuss is about. All in good time my love.

We took family pictures this month, and I'm super anxious to see them. You were pretty much stone faced the.entire.time. I'm just glad you didn't throw up all over your pretty outfit. #itsthelittlethings You're such a serious baby! Except when you're not. Makes total sense right?

You absolutely LOVE your sisters. They can make you giggle and giggle. Until I try to get a picture of it, then it's stone faced Sally. However you still don't really like it when they hold you. But you pretty much don't like anyone to hold you except Mom or Dad. (Which I'm totally OK with btw, I'm cherishing this stage as much as I can!) You've kind of got some stranger anxiety. Which again, I'm secretly relishing. All too soon you'll be running around and demanding everyone's attention. So I'll get in all the snuggles while I can.

You've embraced tummytime. Hooray! You love playing on the floor and rolling around everywhere. And the exersaucer is your new BFF. Although the jumper is slowly climbing in popularity. You're pretty independent at home, which is bittersweet, but in the best possible way. Have I totally confused you yet?

Remember that time when I was so excited you were sleeping through the night? Insert foot in mouth. You decided that just wasn't your thing anymore, and we're back to being up a few times a night. #wompwomp Is it because we moved you to your crib? I don't know. You also have a tendency to have blowouts in the middle of the night, which is awesome. NOT. So by the time you're done getting cleaned up you're ready to party. Mom and Dad? Not so much. Let's get back on the sleeping through the night train this month shall we?

You've started eating solid food! What the what? This month you've tried peas, carrotts, and beans. And of course you got treated to some whip cream at Thanksgiving. (That's what grandparents are for right? to sneak you sugar! *technically* Thanksgiving should be part of your next monthly update but whatevs) This time around we've decided to skip baby food altogether. GASP! I know right? But I've done a lot of research on it, and we're following the baby led weaning method. And it's a lot less stressful, and saves us from buying/wasting baby food. I know it's not for everyone, but I'm totally embracing it.

Last but not least - your monthly photo! I'm super impressed (insert pat on the back here) that I've made it 5 whole months (only 7 to go!) taking your pic on the exact day! Although this one was a close one. I totally thought Thanksgiving was on the 26th, turns out it was the 27th. SO right before bed we got this pic, but you were not in a good mood, and the lighting is super bad because it was already dark out. But some day you'll appreciate these photos right? RIGHT.

Happy 5 months sweet girl!

Monday, December 1, 2014


Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays. There's just something so special about a holiday centered around giving thanks for all that you have, and the food. Oh the food! and wine! and pie! and did I say wine?

And while my husband may argue I love it for the black Friday shopping, that's just the icing on the proverbial cake.

This year we headed North to Iowa early Thanksgiving morning, and had a pretty smooth ride. We got there just in time to finish the parade - one of the best parts! I loved watching the parade growing up, and it's pretty awesome that I get to share that with my own kiddos.

We spent two days eating, and playing cards, and more eating. I didn't take a single picture (gasp!) but I was too busy, ya know, eating. And yes we did do some black Friday shopping, but let me tell you I was pleasantly surprised by NO crowds. Yep you read that right. In the wee hours of the morning from 5 to about 7 there weren't very many people out. AND we got almost everything we set out to get!

My darling Parker is homebody like here Mama, and in general doesn't like loud noises and chaos. So we decided to head home Friday afternoon to try and catch a good nap in the car and make it home to sleep in our own beds. We headed South around 3:45ish, and everything started out well. Two were napping and one was watching a movie. We made it to Bethany (the halfway point) and stopped for dinner and to feed Miss P. Mistake #1 - should've just gone through the drive through and kept up the good momentum! After eating and making sure everyone used the bathroom, we were back on the road. We had been back in the car for oh about 10 minutes when someone had to go to the bathroom. Of course. So we told her we'd stop at the next exit. We missed the next exit. Awesome. Finally we made it to the next exit (with NO accidents!) and after a 15 minute stop we were back on the road. We were I'd guess about 45 minutes to an hour from home at this point, and hoping everyone would take a quick cat nap the rest of the way.

You probably guessed that didn't happen.

After only 10 minutes in the car Gracen said she thought Parker had a dirty diaper. I didn't smell anything, so we just kept cruising. Well P kept getting fussier, so we decided to stop AGAIN but just change her in the car. Well that plan wasn't going to work. Because girlfriend decided that was a great time to have a blowout. The Mr. kindly volunteered (or maybe I volunteered him...) to bring her in and change her, which let me tell you was no easy task. He didn't want to set anything on the floor (gross), and the loud noises in there were scaring her. And when they finally emerged 20 minutes later, she was naked in the car seat. I ever so nicely (prob not so nicely - luckily he still loves me anyway) reminded him there was a spare outfit in the diaper bag. So back in they went again to get her dressed. When she was finally back in the car she.was.pissed. She screamed bloody murder for at least the next 10 minutes, so I tried to make her some milk, but ain't nobody got time for cold milk. She finally fell asleep about 30 minutes from home. We pulled in our driveway around 9:30. 9 freaking 30. What normally was a 3 hour trip took us over 5 hours. Ah the joys of traveling with a baby.

DESPITE the rough ride home, we still had a wonderful holiday. I am so incredibly thankful for my sweet little family, and feel lucky that I've been trusted to add a 3rd little peanut to my crew this year. We're all healthy and happy, with a roof over our head and food on our table. What more could I ask for?

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! Now bring on the Christmas music, decorations, and treats!!

Friday, November 21, 2014



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Together We Can End Hunger

Last week Gracen's Daisy troop (are they called troops?) had a field trip to Harvester's food bank. I volunteered to be one of the drivers so I could go with them, and I'm so glad I did. As someone who has never had to worry about where my next meal would come from, I think it's incredibly important to teach my kids that unfortunately not everyone gets to live with that kind of security. Especially right now at Thanksgiving time.

The girls all brought food to donate, and I loved all their enthusiasm, and their innocence. On the drive down there I tried to talk about what we were doing, and more specifically why we were doing it. They knew we were bringing food for people to eat, but they just couldn't comprehend that sometimes people go without dinner, or breakfast. Including kids. I got a lot of why don't their parents just go the grocery store? And, well they can come to our house for dinner - let's invite them over!

If only it were that simple!

Harvester's is a regional food bank serving northwestern MO and northeastern KS providing food and related household products to more than 620 non-profit agencies including food pantries, homeless shelters, and children's homes. In addition, they are one of five regional disaster relief staging sites for Feeding America. They store food, water, and cleaning supplies that can be sent to a disaster site on short notice.

Harvester's feeds over 141,500 people every month. Every MONTH! Isn't that amazing? 25% of those served are children. Doesn't that just break your heart? And 8% have a college degree or higher. The face of hunger does not discriminate. 54% of households have had to choose between paying for food, or paying their rent/mortgage. How do you even make a decision like that?

It takes so little to buy a few extra staples and donate them. Yet so often we (me) forget. I don't want my kids to feel guilty by any means for their full bellies, but I definitely want them to be appreciative. And visiting Harvester's and beginning the conversation is a pretty good first step.

While we were there, our tour guide told us a couple of stories about how they get their food. She said one time Kellogg's had a mistake in their factory and they accidentally left the blue fruit loop out of the cereal. So they were unable to send them to grocery stores to be sold, instead they donated them all to Harvesters. Isn't that incredible? Do you think anyone would notice it was missing the blue fruit loop? I don't think so, but I'm just glad they donated them all instead of wasting them!

This was such a simple way to get Gracen involved. So many times we feel over-scheduled with activities but Daisies has had such a positive impact on opening her eyes to a community around her. I love living in our PV bubble, but there's a great big world out there ready for her to explore. I want her to continue to have the desire to help others, and to be compassionate to the world and everyone in it.

Since visiting Harvester's we've had many different conversations about hunger, and why people don't have food, and how we can help stop it. I hope she continues to believe she can change the world, because if everyone thought that way, it would be a heck of a lot easier. Even kids can make a huge impact, and I'm glad she understands that. I'll be here to support her every step of the way.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Parker Mae's Baptism

My darling Parker Mae got baptized! A couple months ago, but whatevs. And if you know me at all, you know that I am SUPER sentimental about the most random things, and it just so happens that we were both baptized on the same day, Sept 14th. Which I didn't even plan! But it just makes my heart so happy anyways. Simply providential (Anne of Green Gables anyone?). She also got to wear the same gown that I wore at my own baptism. And her bonnet - which was seriously the most adorable thing ever - was a gift from Great Aunt Diane. It's an Irish bonnet that we'll put away until her wedding day that becomes a handkerchief for her to carry with her bouquet as her "something old". I'm getting misty eyed just thinking about it!

Mass was a small struggle because they were playing the organ that day, and it is LOUD. 10:30am is always a hard time anyways because it's right around eating/nap time so it's a crap shoot on whether or not it will go smoothly. I'd say this wasn't our best day, but definitely wasn't our worst. The older girls were VERY antsy because their cousins were there. Again not their best, but not their worst either.

I mean seriously could she get any cuter?!

Parker was a dream for the actual Baptism, just went with the flow. She even giggled once or twice. Just wanted to watch everything and everyone.

 We had everyone over for brunch afterwards, and the whole day was kind of a blur. I spent the day before running around like a chicken with my head cut off, with soccer games, heading to the grocery store, Sams Club, the liquor store (all brunches require mimosas) and baking all night long. Her Baptism was right after the 10:30am Mass, which was like a super awkward time. It started around 11:45 so by the time it was over (there were FOUR! baptisms that day) everyone was starving when they got back to our house. It was a little chaotic trying to get all the food out and set up, change the baby, feed the baby, all in our cozy (read: tiny) house, but we survived. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and sweet P was spoiled with gifts (and love).

Gracen desperately wanted to hold Parker, but had just gotten in trouble for messing around, hence the pouty face.
Have to get a siblings pic!

We celebrated Hadley's 5th birthday that afternoon as well since our families were all together anyways. Sorry to steal your thunder P. #thirdchildproblems We promise we still love you oodles, and were so excited to celebrate your special day surrounded by so many people who love you just as much as we do.

Photos c/o Andrea Strecker Photography :)

Friday, November 14, 2014



and I'm like

Monday, November 10, 2014

Halloween 2014

I'm in total denial that Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away. Because that means there's only 44 days until Christmas. I'm behind already.

Normally I don't think I feel this rushed, but October was jam packed from start to finish with all of our normal activities, and then the Royals just totally took over with the World Series (not that I'm complaining).

Halloween came and went and all that's left is a bunch of candy that I eat while my kids are sleeping. Better me than them right? Gracen's school was collecting candy to send to the troops overseas, and we were totally going to donate it, but we were literally a day late. #itsthethoughtthatcounts

We had quite the list of costumes due to all the festivities. Trunk-or-treat fell on Thursday night and we had gorgeous weather. I talked Hadley in to wearing her doctor scrubs, and Gracen decided to be a chef. G had piano lessons that night and was coming straight after, so she needed an easy costume. Thank goodness for drawers full of dress up clothes.

I love the play stethoscope around her neck, and the crocs complete her look. And girlfriend carried around that kit all.night.long. 

Gracen got there a little late, but totally made up for it. I don't think I've ever seen anyone trick-or-treat so fast. Becuase, free candy! And they thought it was the greatest thing in the world that they got to play on the playground in the dark.

What was Parker you ask? Uh, nothing. At least not this night. #thirdchildproblems

Friday meant school parties and parades. The girls dressed up as Anna & Elsa (appropriate for sisters no?)

It seriously was amazing how many Elsa's there were. Only one or two Anna's though. {Side note: I'm sure Disney is thanking their lucky stars for Frozen. Because that movie has been there biggest hit since I can't remember when, Frozen fever is still going strong}

I just love classroom parties! Candy corn bingo? Yes please. 

Hadley was the only Anna in her class! She had a great time at her parade, and since it was a little cold we headed inside for performance.

Isn't she the cutest?

After school they got to swing by my office to trick-or-treat (because they clearly didn't have enought candy yet, and it's not like they were going to get more that night. Oh wait..)

The Anna & Elsa dresses weren't nearly warm enough for Halloween night, so we changed into our 3rd, yes 3rd costumes. 

Rockstar Gracen. With pink hair and cowgirl boots. Because why not?

Little red riding hood. Even though that's what she was last year.

Before trick-or-treating we headed over to Aunt Nanie's for our annual jack-o-lantern pizza. And looky there Parker's a ladybug! See we do love her. ;) That's the very same costume Gracen wore for her first Halloween. #handmedownsforthewin

This is the best I could get with all 3 of them. In their defense, The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown was on, and 2 of the 3 were hopped up on sugar. Parker got to stay inside and help hand out candy while the Mr. and I took the big girls to trick-or-treat. Hadley and I only lasted one block before we were ready for hot chocolate and to eat some of the goods. Gracen made it another block before calling it a night. They have it so easy. Remember when we had to trick-or-treat for HOURS to fill up our pillowcases? Now people just throw candy at them by the handful because hardly anyone trick-or-treats on actual Halloween anymore. #kidsthesedays

The Mr. kindly took them all home and put them to bed while I got to play Mall Madness and enjoy some Moscow Mules. Halloween you treat me so right. 

Quite possibly the greatest board game ever invented, and the best $2 my brother's ever spent. #attentionmallshoppers #chaching 

Until next year Halloween!